Many Canadian conservatives appear to be distancing themselves from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford these days, but Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is standing by his long-time friend.

Flaherty emphasized his personal relationship with the embattled mayor in an interview on Monday with CBC’s "Power & Politics with Evan Solomon."

Solomon asked Flaherty about the allegations Ford smoked crack cocaine and whether the scandal is destructive to economic development in Canada’s largest city.

“You and I both know that there are so many allegations around this guy, staff’s leaving, have you spoken with Mayor Ford since this stuff has broken to help him deal with this stuff?” Solomon asked.

"I’ve spoken with the mayor and I’ve spoken with members of his family. I’m very close to the family, and I won’t comment further on that," Flaherty told Solomon.

Solomon then asked if the mayor needs to take any “different steps.”

“They’re very good friends of mine,” Flaherty said, appearing uncomfortable. “The family are very good friends.”

Solomon pressed the finance minister a third time, asking if he has given Ford advice on how to deal with the scandal.

“My discussions with him have been personal, they haven’t been about infrastructure or anything like that,” he said.

Flaherty’s personal conversations with Ford were then fodder for a panel discussion on the show, where CBC News’ Greg Weston lauded the finance minister for sticking by the mayor when it is inconvenient.

“I think we should all have friends as good as Jim Flaherty’s friends with Rob Ford,” Weston said. “That says more about Jim Flaherty than it does about Rob Ford.”

Another Ford friend — Prime Minister Stephen Harper — has been less vocal. Harper, who is already facing intense scrutiny over the Senate expense scandal, recently refused to comment on accusations his fishing buddy was caught on camera smoking crack.

Now some are wondering if Ford’s alleged drug problems could somehow hurt Harper and other Tories politically. Sun columnist and former Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella has suggested they should.

Kinsella wrote on his website that Harper has “aided and abetted Rob Ford every step of the way.”

Kinsella posted a clip of Harper attending a Ford family barbecue in 2011, where he praised the family’s “conservative political dynasty” and lauded Ford for “cleaning up the NDP mess” in Toronto. Flaherty and Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak were also in attendance.

“Given his present difficulties, (Harper) doesn’t want you to remember that (his minions have scrubbed the video below every time it pops up on the Internet – but not on this web site!),” Kinsella wrote. “But the fact remains: he’s one of Rob Ford’s enablers.”





Former Ontario Liberal Finance Minister Dwight Duncan also seemed to revel in the situation last week.

“So do you think Harper and Hudak will be doing a summer BBQ with the Fords again this year?," he tweeted.


DwightDuncan
So do you think Harper and Hudak will be doing a summer BBQ with the Fords again this year?

In an unusual move, Ford endorsed Harper’s Conservatives in the last federal election.

“I said there’s only one leader and one party that’s going to benefit the hard-working taxpayers of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area and that’s Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party,” Ford said at the time.

Last summer, Harper and Ford got together for a fishing trip at the prime minister’s official country retreat in Harrington Lake.

What do you think of how Flaherty handled those questions about Ford? Tell us in the comments below.

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/lisa_thompson/status/340862919388573697/photo/1" target="_blank">@lisa_thompson</a>

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/caseyoraa/status/340870531010142208/photo/1" target="_blank">@caseyoraa</a>: Chalk messages calling for Ford's resignation filling up Nathan Phillips SQ

  • A protester joins the crowd at Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto city hall calling for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to step down on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

  • A Mayor Rob Ford supporter Derek Hill, left, argues with a protester at Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto city hall during a protest calling for the mayor to step down on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/BEYONDTHENEXT/status/340878857336930304" target="_blank">@BEYONDTHENEXT</a>: #standupto I love TO. Our mayor should be a reflection of it's warmth, character, diversity and progressive attitude

  • Protesters gather at Nathan Phillips Square to call on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to step down in front of Toronto city hall on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

  • Anti-Rob Ford phrases are drawn in chalk as protestors took to Nathan Phillips Square to call on Mayor Rob Ford to step down in Toronto on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/thenthereskeith/status/340868815992799232/photo/1" target="_blank">@thenthereskeith</a>

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/kinga_p/status/340863981591879681/photo/1" target="_blank">@kinga_p</a>: 'Hey hey go home, Rob Ford has got to go.' #topoli

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/Alizarinmichael/status/340857617217908736/photo/1" target="_blank">@Alizarinmichael</a>

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/learmos/status/340861273875038208" target="_blank">@learmos</a>

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/learmos/status/340863127015018496/photo/1" target="_blank">@learmos</a>: Are you getting the message @TOMayorFord. Time to resign! #Toronto #torontocityhall #RobFord

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/shaychguy/status/340862845564637184/photo/1" target="_blank">@shaychguy</a>: There's always gotta be 1 supporter in the crowd at a rally - nice sign dude. #CityHall #PeacefulProtest #RobFord

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/pdesilva1/status/340867840548675584/photo/1" target="_blank">@pdesilva1</a>: Somethings our mayor lacks. #standupTO #topoli

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/JessDavidson/status/340863684756787201/photo/1" target="_blank">@JessDavidson</a>: More chalk #topoli #standupto

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/papa723/status/340859714164379649/photo/1" target="_blank">@papa723</a>: #topoli Sign of the times at the Resign Rob Ford rally

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/thenthereskeith/status/340860723708178432/photo/1" target="_blank">@thenthereskeith</a>: #StandUpTO rally against #RobFord #Toronto #TOPoli

  • From <a href="https://twitter.com/amandaannroth/status/340865811172454400/photo/1" target="_blank">@amandaannroth</a>: Nathan Phillips Square #RobFord

  • MORE: The Best Rob Ford GIFs

  • Flashdance

    He's got the moves like Jagger.. He's got the moves like Jagger. <a href="http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/Do/November-2012/In-tribute-of-GIF-being-the-word-of-the-year-heres-our-favourite-Toronto-GIFs/" target="_blank">From PostCity</a>

  • Self-Fumble

    Invisible defenders take down the mayor with an invisible tackle.

  • Foiled By The Jedi

    <a href="http://i.imgur.com/JrKal.gif" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>

  • Falling Off The Scale

    Did we mention this <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/12/rob-ford-ballet-nutcracker-toronto_n_1143708.html" target="_blank">man once performed in a ballet</a>? From <a href="http://robfordfalls.tumblr.com/">Rob Ford Falls Tumblr</a>

  • Running Man

    That's one way to deal with reporters. <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>

  • Maniacal Laugh

    Muhahahahaha <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>

  • Maniacal Laugh II

    Muhahahahahahahahahahaha <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>

  • Robbie Boo Boo

    <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/22minutes/videos/clips---season-20/robbie-boo-boo.html" target="_blank">"22 Minutes" strikes again</a>. From <a href="http://thishourhas22minutes.tumblr.com/post/34114355293/22-minutes-discovers-mayor-rob-fords-new-honey">This Hour Has 22 Minutes</a>

  • Word Vomit

    Who needs words when you can just <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/02/rob-ford-vomit-noise-video_n_3001086.html" target="_blank">pretend to vomit</a>? <a href="http://imgur.com/gwV7q2h" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>

  • Time For His Close-Up

    Rob Ford proves you can run <em>from</em> the media, you can run <em>into</em> the media, and sometimes, you can do both at the same time. <a href="http://imgur.com/r/funny/nATPNJb" target="_blank">GIF from Imgur</a>

  • Bitchin' Sweater

    Bonus image. Want. <a href="http://imgur.com/xtxz2" target="_blank">Thank you Imgur</a>